Category Archives: Pictures

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Ducks and other birds at Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve

A few weeks ago I booked a ticket for a concert by Ross & Ali in Emsworth in the south of Hampshire. That’s about an hour and 15 minutes drive from where I live in West Berkshire. As the concert took place on a Saturday I thought I should combine the long drive with something else. And decided it was time for another visit (there third if I counted correctly) of Titchfield Haven nature reserve.

A variety of birds was around, in particular quite a few ducks. Some of the pictures I took in this gallery:

Unfortunately didn’t see a Kingfisher this time, hope to see one again next time. A lot of the waders kept quite a distance, not sure if that was seasonal or just coincidence. The Marsh Harriers did’t come as close as I had hoped, but were still nice to watch in the distance. Quite a few Magpies around, hopping in the marsh outside one of the hides. Also saw a Fox brazenly making its way through the reserve, I think at one point it made a half-hearted attempt to get a bird (either a Goose or a Cormorant, can’t remember), but wasn’t successful. Unfortunately didn’t manage to get any decent pictures of it, at the time I was more focused on watching it through my binoculars (it was quite far away and better to see through the binoculars).

Before leaving for Emsworth for the concert I had a nice meal at The Osborne View (of course a burger). It being March it was too cold to sit outside, but I managed to get a table with a nice view over the Solent. I hope I can sit outside again for one of my next visits.

Wholemeal Fruit Bread

A mid December long weekend is well placed for some home baking (and my first steps with the new Gutenberg editor). Today I’m planning to make some Bremer Klaben and possibly some bread. Tomorrow I’ll definitely make some bread. Yesterday I improvised some Wholemeal Fruit Bread:

Wholemeal Fruit Bread freshly cut (phone camera picture)

The ingredients:

  • 300g strong stoneground wholemeal bread flour
  • 150g strong white bread flour
  • 250g mixed fruit (sultanas, currants, raisins, candied mixed peel)
  • ~15-20ml Sicilian Lemon Extract
  • 6g ready zest / powdered lemon peel (yes, I’m lazy)
  • ~10g fast action bread yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pint warm water

Mix, knead, let rise as appropriate, then bake at 220ºC (fan assisted oven) for just over 35 minutes.

Eating it this morning while writing this blog post, tastes nice, fresh and fruity. And I’m starting to get used to the new Gutenberg WordPress editor. I’m beginning to grasp the block concept and I think with a little bit more experience I’m going to like it.

Hemp and Walnut Bread

It was time for some baking again last Sunday (but I only find time to blog about it today), time for another experiment. I decided to make an alternative version of the Hemp and Almond Bread I first made back in June (and have made again since), mainly replacing the almonds with walnuts. But as the walnuts came in a slightly strange packet size I also played around with some the of volumes.

These are the ingredients I used (I decided to also include some sunflower seeds):

  • 400g strong stoneground wholemeal bread flour
  • 200g strong white bread flour
  • 125g hemp seed hearts
  • 130g walnut halves
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • ~15g fast action bread yeast
  • 3 table spoons olive oil
  • 400ml of warm water

Mix, knead, let rise as appropriate, then bake at 220ºC (fan assisted oven) for just over 30 minutes.

Taste test? Similar to the almond version, a nice slightly nutty taste, as expected from the hemp and the walnuts. Crunchy when you bite on a walnut. Also tastes very nice toasted.

Hemp and Almond Bread

Decided to experiment with some bread baking again. While doing my shopping yesterday I spotted some ‘Hemp Seed Hearts’ (described as ‘pure unrefined hemp seed kernels with a delicious light nutty flavour’ and that among other things they are perfect for baking), so I bought some to use them in some bread to be baked for the weekend.

(click on the pictures for larger versions)

These are the ingredients I used (I decided to also include some almonds):

  • 300g strong stoneground wholemeal bread flour
  • 150g strong white bread flour
  • 75g hemp seed hearts
  • 75g toasted chopped almonds
  • ~10g fast action bread yeast
  • 2 table spoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pint of warm water

Mix, knead, let rise as appropriate, then bake at 220ºC (fan assisted oven) for just over 30 minutes.

Taste test?

Has a nice light nutty smell. Taste also light nutty (as promised), bread turned out quite light but also crunchy with the seeds and the almonds. Yes, I’ll almost certainly make this again.

Electric Steam Train in Aldermaston Wharf

No, of course there is no such thing as an electric steam train. But the headline made you curious, I hope. The reason for it is that the local rail line is currently in the last stages of the line electrification and the overhead power lines we put up about a month ago. While more environmentally friendly than the old diesel trains we currently have it’s not so nice for taking pictures of the steam trains passing through here every once in a while. Today we saw the first steam train coming through since the cables went up.

The train was the ‘Quantock Intruder’, pulled by SR Merchant Navy Class 4-6-2 no 35028 maintained by Clan Line. Here are the pictures I managed to take:

(click on the pictures for the larger versions and captions)